There are only three ranked match ups in all of college football this weekend, all in the SEC West, and LSU is playing in one of them.
Hold on to your butts, it’s about to serious in Baton Rouge.
Color Rush The Field Shift
One of the ACC’s most time honored and established traditions kicks off the week when Miami travels to Blacksburg. Maybe we jumped the gun on the “MIAMI IS BACK” hype just like we did with Texas, but don’t let that take away from the shine of the game. This may end up being one of the better game of the weekend as both teams are ranked back to back in the S&P+ rankings, with the Hokies edging out the Hurricanes at 16. On the other hand, it’s a Thursday night ACC game so.
Following that game, BYU goes up to the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium to play Boise State who yes, is in fact undefeated. BYU has three losses on the year, but they are probably the funnest three loss team in the nation. Their three losses were decided by a total margin of six points. A touchdown and the point after are all that separate Kalani Sitake’s squad from being perfect. And two of their losses have came via a combined two points to boot.
Troy and South Alabama are also on your television sets.
The Bus Hits The Road Shift
Friday night presents a match up between two up and coming head coaches: Willie Taggart at USF and Matt Rhule at Temple. Will Taggart’s boys are a staunch 6-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Florida State and a win over Temple puts them in the catbird seat of the American Athletic East while the West sorts itself out. This is a classic strength vs. strength match up featuring the Bulls’ 12th ranked offense in offensive S&P+ and Temple’s 16th ranked defense in defensive S&P+.
That game leads into Oregon at Cal and...Oregon needs this win, bad. In order for the Ducks to reach bowl eligibility, they need four wins out of the following: at Cal, Arizona State, at USC, Stanford, at Utah, at Oregon State. And if we know anything, it’s that Cal is the nation’s most unpredictable team.
San Jose State and San Diego State is your late night alternative.
The Shift Of Impenetrable Sadness
This shift is awful. Skip!
The Manziel Memorial Shift
The first of the three ranked match ups this weekend and unarguably the biggest game, the 6 vs. 1 (11 vs. 2 in S&P+) game that draws College GameDay to Tuscaloosa. Going off the “common opponent” line of thinking, The Alabama should roll over A&M because the Crimson Tide easily dispatched a Tennessee team that the Aggies needed six turnovers and overtime to put down.
Things are ratcheting up for unbeaten West Virginia. They haven’t been particularly impressive though, and TCU by far will be their biggest test of the season. On the flip side of the coin, TCU is trying to figure out what is wrong. TCU’s defense that has been solid from year to year is showing cracks and they’re down to 65th in defensive S&P+ while their offense holds firm at 13.
That’s one half of ABC/ESPN2 split, with the other game being Purdue at also undefeated Nebraska. Don’t watch that one (you should totally watch it).
ALSO: Utah/USC and North Carolina/Virginia.
808 Mafia Shift
The second ranked and ranked match up comes at the very end of the shift when Arkansas plays Auburn. I never said every match up had luster, but since their rocky start Auburn has been one of the better teams in the nation, climbing all the way up eight in S&P+, one spot behind LSU. Anchored by their defense that holds the ranking of 10th best in S&P+, the offense has been able to take advantage of field position left to them by the defense. Arkansas, NovemBERT is right around the corner.
Now, outside of Arkansas and Auburn, there’s a recurring theme during the this shift. Ohio State is one of the three cars that are leading the pack of 128 teams and they can’t wait for the chance to put Michigan into the wall. But Penn State has been playing well, well enough to earn a place inside the S&P+ top 25 at number 20. Penn State’s offense isn’t a level where they can challenge Ohio State to a boat race, but their defense could tie up Penn State long enough to keep the Nittany Lions in the game.
The trap game motif continues when Oklahoma travels to the life on Mars simulation that is Lubbock, Texas to play the Red Raiders of Texahaha I’m just messing with you. Oklahoma is going to drop 70 on that vapor of a defense. That’s the number two team in offensive S&P+ lining up against the 116th team in defensive S&P+. There will be blood.
Thanks to Auburn/LSU having a stupid start time, the only other games on this shift are Mississippi State at Kentucky and Houston at SMU in a match up of Future LSU Head Coach Tom Herman vs. Future LSU Head Coach Chad Morris.
Saturday Night In Death Valley Shift
Ole Miss. LSU. Late October. Death Valley. 8:00. I’m not sure what else needs to be said. If you’re not going to be there yourself, then the third ranked vs. ranked game of the day needs to be front and center for you.
After that game wraps up, there is Wyoming-Nevada and Fresno State-Utah State, which is fine because there’s going to be a party to be had anyway.